Sunday, 1 June 2008

May Reading List

May was a month that started off with a glut of fantasy, courtesy of my local library, then moved to something quite brilliantly different then on to a very odd mixture indeed.

I'm really going to have to change the way that I write up my reading list as it's labour intensive, takes ages and I find that I can't quite remember the books from the start of the month well enough to do them justice! If only I could work out how to add a column to the right of this blog then I could just list my reads there... A project for June!
  • Newton's Cannon, A Calculus of Angels, Empire of Unreason & The Shadows of God - Greg Keyes. The Age of Unreason Quartet is an enjoyable alternative history series set in the age of Isaac Newton starring Benjamin Franklin. Fantasy Book Critic has a very well timed interview with Greg Keyes here and I'm looking forward to getting around to reading his Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series.
  • Plainsong - Kent Haruf. A clear winner for my prestigious BOTM award and you can read more about what I thought when I blogged about it here.
  • Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones. The 1995 Studi Ghibli film version is fantastic and I'd not realised that it was based on a children's book until fairly recently. I bought this book on impulse and I'm glad I did as it's a really charming book.
  • Blaming - Elizabeth Taylor. No. Not that Elizabeth Taylor. This one! Amy's husband dies suddenly whilst they are on holiday in Istanbul and she is helped by Martha, an American Novelist who maintains their friendship on their return to England. A very tightly controlled novel about the nature of grief that I later discovered was written whilst she was dying of cancer.
  • Then We Came To The End - Joshua Ferris. I gather, based on the amazon reviews, that this is a love it/hate it read! I found this surprising as there's much to enjoy about this book based in the office of an advertising company. Although it's nominally about office politics and the group mentality that can develop, it's not as simplistic as that and I genuinely cared about what happened to the characters as the business started to fail, staff were mad redundant and lives started to unravel. Here's a link to an interview with Joshua Ferris.
  • How to Lose Friends and Alienate People - Toby Young. I've been meaning to read this for ages as there's a film with Simon Pegg playing Toby Young coming out shortly and, given Mr B adores Simon Pegg, I suspect I'll be watching it. It's the story of Toby Young's disastrous five years in the New York media scene and his utter inability to, as far as I could make out, preserve his career by simply being polite - hence the title. An entertaining read and I'm glad I watched a couple of episodes of Ugly Better so I could visualise life in the Vanity Fair office. *shudder*.
  • Me and Mr Darcy - Alexandra Potter. I'm not usually mean about a book but all I can say about this one is... Don't. Spare yourself. Please. I mean it. I really, really mean it.
  • Castle in the Air - Diana Wynne Jones. This is the follow up to Howl's Moving Carpet. Reminded me slightly of Noel Langley's wonderful classic The Land of Green Ginger but I'll have to dig it out and re-read that to see if I am right. I didn't find it as delightful as Howl's Moving Castle but it's still a sweet story.

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